There are many ways to learn content: instruction, discourse, assessment and question, problem solving, replication, induction or deduction of facts (to name a few).
What is inquiry?
An exact definition is still highly debated among researchers in the education community. But here’s a good, functional definition (to help with practical Bible study):
Inquiry is the process of learning by following prompts from an instructor which leads to discovering and sharing knowledge in an authentic way.
Because it involves leading a reader through the text via prompts, rather than telling the reader what the text says/means, and because it leads to authentic discovery on the part of the reader, the inquiry method is a great style for teaching the Bible. It provides an authentic environment for adults, college age and slightly older, and enables them to grasp the Bible for themselves.
Inquiry methodology is organic, which is to say that it lets participants approach the text the same way they would if they were studying the Bible on their own (but with direction). This authentic, organic environment not only helps participants arrive at and internalize sound doctrine, but it assists them in their ability to study the Bible by themselves.
Levels of inquiry:
Curriculum designers know that there are several levels of inquiry that can be applied to any type of teaching.
Level 1 is not even inquiry because it does not allow for the student to learn for themselves. It is simple indoctrination.
Level 2 allows participants to study the Scriptures but then has the leader do all the talking. While this can be helpful for teaching some subject matter, it does not allow for people to share their questions, knowledge, and newfound appreciation for their time in the Word. This sharing and questioning is crucial if members of the group are to take possession of their own learning. It also assists helps individuals remember the content.
The more the students contribute, the more they tend to remember from the study.
Level 3 (Proficient Inquiry) is what is realistic for a Bible study format. At level 3, both the leader and the participants contribute in the giving of information at the end of the study.
To achieve Level 4, there needs to be so much time spent on the study that the presentation is guaranteed to be free of misconceptions and fallacies. This can be used in review sessions, but is usually not part of a normal study because the leader has such an important role in guiding discussion and dispelling misconceptions.
Types of Inquiry:
There are many ways to learn content: instruction, discourse, assessment and question, problem solving, replication, induction or deduction of facts (to name a few). An inquiry approach uses all of these (and others), in order to lead participants into the Word and help them come away with something of their own.
It is important to keep an open mind when thinking about Bible study. There are many ways to approach a passage, and many learning styles. So it is important to build variety into your Bible studies. Be prepared to change your study style, depending on the passage, the group, and the learning objective(s).
Parenthesis will feature “Inquiry Method” in each of our breakout sessions. So, in addition to the great platform teaching, you’ll have the opportunity to discover things in the Scriptures you may never have seen before. And, you’ll gain Bible-study skills to take home with you and use for the rest of your life!
Parenthesis is a New Testament assembly work, created to inspire Millennials to look into the person of Jesus Christ, by looking into the Bible. Find out about (and register for) upcoming events here.